A solid start had Scotland County poised for a blowout Friday night at Westran, but the Tigers had to wait for a second half surge to secure the 44-7 after losing the momentum in the second period.
SCR-I jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the contest but went to the locker room up just 14-7 before blowing the contest open midway through the third period.
The Tigers got on the scoreboard on the game’s opening possession. Alex Long broke a 5 yard run that set up a one-yard touchdown run by Branton Burrus to put SCR-I on top 6-0 with 10:02 left in the first quarter.
After a Westran punt, the Tigers again found the end zone capping off a five-play drive. Burrus bowled over the defenders on a 25-yard power run before Hayden Long sprinted through the Westran defense for a 34-yard TD. Burrus ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0 less than eight minutes into the contest.
Scotland County failed to take advantage of several scoring chances in the second period. A 43-yard run by Kaden Anders was nullified by a penalty.
Finally Westran was able to capitalize after SCR-I turned the ball over on downs near midfield. Derrick Merritt hit a wide open Calvin Binder in the end zone for a 20-yard TD pass with 2:00 left in the first half that cut the SCR-I lead to 14-7.
After SCR-I again turned the ball over on downs near midfield, Westran threatened to knot the score before the intermission, but Parker Triplett was able to break up a pass in the end zone as time expired on the first half.
The Scotland County defense set the tone in the third period, forcing a three and out by Westran on the opening kickoff. The punt was partially blocked setting up excellent field position for SCR-I.
The momentum was short lived as the Hornets took the ball back the very next play as Leyton Bain picked off the pass from Hayden Long and returned it to midfield.
The SCR-I defense again forced Westran three and out with a punt. The Tigers moved the chains twice with a series of short runs before Hayden Long finally broke a 31 yard TD run to push the SCR-I lead to 20-7.
Westran completed its third series of the second half without a first down and a short punt set up SCR-I in good field position. Burrus broke a 37 yard run to put the Tigers in the red zone. Faced with fourth down and eight, Hayden Long hit Owen Triplett on the slant route that went 20 yards for the TD. Burrus ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 28-7.
The Hornets went three and out for the fourth straight possession of the second half. Just three plays later, SCR-I was celebrating another score as Hayden Long found a wide open Parker Triplett for the 53-yard TD pass. The duo connected on the two-point conversion as well and Scotland County led 36-7 early in the fourth period.
Westran’s Derrick Merritt made a leaping catch for a 25-yard completion to give the Hornets their first, first down of the second half. The Hornets moved the chains one more time and looked poised to cut into the lead before Alex Long climbed the ladder, going up high to snag a pass attempt for the interception. The speedy linebacker quickly turned the tables and returned the pick six 70 yards for the TD. Burrus ran the two-point conversion in to expand the margin to 44-7 and keep the clock rolling in the final six minutes of play.
Scotland County racked up 346 yards of offense while holding the Hornets to just 160 yards.
Hayden Long completed six of 122 passes for 99 yards and two TDS. The Triplett brothers combined for 73 of those yards and both scores. Anders and Burrus each finished with 74 yards rushing. Hayden Long had 66 yards on the ground and two TDs.
The linebacker trio of Burrus, Anders and Alex Long each finished with 11 tackles to lead the defense. Owen Triplett, Eli Kigar and Hayden Long each made eight stops.
Scotland County improved to 5-1 on the season and 5-1 in the Lewis & Clark Conference while Westran fell to 1-5.